Can Connecticut Department of Children and Families Show Up Unannounced?

  • DCF will contact you within 24 or 72 hours if a report of abuse or neglect is made against you.
  • If DCF accepts a referral, a caseworker can appear at your home without warning.

  • You don’t need to let DCF into your house without having an attorney present!
  • Contact a DCF defense attorney before speaking to DCF.

Can DCF Come to My House without Warning?

Within 72 hours of receiving a report against you, DCF will contact you or show up at your front door. After responding to a domestic violence arrest, police are required to call DCF if they suspect that there is any child abuse or neglect. Once they show up to begin their investigation, DCF will want to speak to your children without you present and walk around your home to check on the welfare of your child. This visit may be the first time you’re hearing about a report made against you – remember, you don’t need to speak to DCF without an attorney present. Call an experienced DCF attorney as quickly as possible and click here to read more about your rights during an investigation.

Do I Have to Cooperate with DCF?

No, but there are consequences, and anything you say (or don’t say) to DCF may be used against you in a related criminal prosecution. Having a lawyer by your side is the best way to know when to talk, what to say, and how to best protect your family’s rights. Click here to learn more about interacting with DCF in Connecticut.

What is a Connecticut Family Assessment Response?

A Connecticut DCF investigation can either be a Family Assessment Response (“FAR”) or a Full Investigation. Most commonly, DCF will launch a Family Assessment Response against you during the initial stages of the investigation. Cooperating with DCF during your investigation may help keep your case as a FAR but does not guarantee that DCF won’t escalate your matter to a Full for any reason. Cooperating with DCF and also protecting your family from continued DCF involvement is a fine line to walk.  A top DCF attorney can help you figure out what your end goal is and work with DCF to close your case with that goal in mind.

Why Does DCF Have to Come to My House? 

A DCF caseworker will initially report to your home to check on your child and make sure they are not in danger of physical harm. DCF will do weekly home visits during the investigation and will speak to your child during each visit. DCF’s goals are to develop rapport with your child so that your child will feel comfortable reporting any fear or concern to the caseworker.  Having an attorney present during the initial meeting can help ensure that DCF does not overstep or negatively affect your child moving forward.

 How Long will DCF Investigate me?

 DCF has 45 days to complete their investigation, and either substantiate or un-substantiate abuse against you. After the 45-day investigation period, DCF can either close your case or refer your family for ongoing services. If you fail to comply with DCF’s requests for ongoing services, DCF may file a Neglect Petition against you in the juvenile court and may even ask the court to remove your child from your home.

Can DCF Take my Children during an Investigation? 

Yes. DCF can take your child from your home for up to 96 hours if, at any point during the investigation, DCF believes your child is in an imminent risk of physical harm. If at any point, DCF believes your child should be removed from your home, the department will file an Order for Temporary Custody.  You have a right to legal representation during any court process or hearing, especially hearings affecting your parental rights.

Call a DCF Defense Lawyer Today

If you’ve been contacted by Connecticut DCF or a caseworker showed up at your front door after receiving a report of abuse or neglect, contact an experienced DCF defense attorney today to learn your rights in the DCF investigation process. Our team of attorneys are available to discuss 24/7 at (203) 358-4700.  Read certified reviews on Avvo.com from prior satisfied DCF clients here.

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